It’s official - creating a positive impact for people and planet is now a core consideration for travellers when booking a holiday.
Companies now have a responsibility to meet this demand, going beyond simple sustainability pledges to help enact real positive and purposeful change. Here are just a few of our favourite responsible travel trends to consider when devising your 2023 strategies, as compiled by the experts at Weeva (see the full list here).
Vegetarian and vegan diets are on the rise; sales of plant based food are up 50% globally, according to the Vegan Society, and consumers are paying much more attention to the ethics of their food. ‘Regenivores’ - a term coined by the New York Times - are looking to their favourite companies to go further than simple greenwashing, and to find solutions that actively heal the environment.
With more and more people making these lifestyle changes, the travel and hospitality industry needs to adapt with the times. A stark reminder of the travel industry and veganism was seen during a recent controversy on a Japan Airlines flight, when a customer was served a single banana as their in-flight vegan meal option. However, some are already heading in the right direction, including the rise in popularity of vegan safaris and Britain’s first vegan hotel, Saorsa 1875, where all the furnishings (as well as the food) are vegan.
With consumers increasingly interested in the ecological-practices of the brands they align themselves with, giving guests a look ‘behind the scenes’ at elements of the travel industry will be beneficial for brand transparency. Hotels are beginning to invite guests to see in-depth how their sustainability practices work, such as water and waste management.
A great example of this is the Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons hotel, which runs a range of cooking and gardening classes where guests can learn the secrets behind their world-class gardens and Michelin star food.
Hospitality companies need to ensure ‘eco-friendly’ doesn't simply become a buzz-word, and that they are truly dedicated to consistent and purposeful progress toward true sustainability.
Organisations such as The Long Run bring together businesses committed to driving biodiversity, protecting a healthy planet, and improving the lives of thousands of people. One of their members, House in the Wild is a boutique lodge located in Kenya. They have collaborated with the community to establish a 6000 acre conservation initiative, which has already restored over-farmed land and species such as lions, honey badgers and elephants back to the area.
Conde Nast Traveler believes that travellers are set to become more ‘flexi-air-ian’ by including alternative types of travel such as trains, boats and buses into their itineraries. This will increasingly make the ‘travel’ element of travelling more of an experience. Pinterest has recently coined the term ‘train bragging’, stating that searches on their site relating to ‘train trip aesthetic’ have risen by 205%.
Another alternative rising in popularity is renewable road-trips. The Evening Standard recommends one scenic trip which snakes through Norway’s roads, and also incorporates gliding down waterfalls, relaxing in saunas and visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites. Apps such as Byway enable travellers to easily plan plane-free or flight-light itineraries for their trip.
The post-pandemic world has given rise to the ‘digital nomad’ - those who travel freely while working remotely around the world. In 2023 digital nomads are expected to become an essential means of distributing wealth through local economies.
The Royal Gazette reported that digital nomads from the ‘Work from Bermuda’ Scheme brought $28 million into the island’s economy. Although digital nomads flying to new destinations appears detrimental in terms of reaching true responsible tourism, we need to consider the benefits of wealth distribution they bring to less popular destinations, and also reduced tourism in bigger cities.
Author: Jess Seymour
Contributors: Tom Watts, Rosie Collin